“The Hall doesn’t need to expand the ballot. The Hall needs to find its balls and issue a clear statement of how the voters are to handle players from the last 25 years. Rather than allow its institution to be hijacked by the agenda of a group of people that profited handsomely by ignoring that which they now condemn, the Hall needs to step forward and take control of the process. The history of inductions reflects the history of the game, with cheaters, racists, drug users — recreational and sports — criminals all finding their images cast in bronze. The Hall should take its cue from MLB, which invalidated no records, changed no stat lines, took away no championships, and which has over and over followed up PED suspensions with seven- and eight-figure contracts.”—Amen, Joe. If you’re not subscribed to Joe Sheehan’s baseball newsletter, what is wrong with you?
Locus Online is hosting, during the month of November 2012, a poll for the best novels and short fiction of the 20th and 21st centuries. Here are my Top Ten for each century:
1. Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
2. Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
3. Phillip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
4. William Gibson, Neuromancer
5. Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
6. Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, Good Omens
7. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
8. Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
9. J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit
10. George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
1. Neil Gaiman, Coraline
2. Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
3. Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men
4. Neal Stephenson, Anathem
5. Richard Kadrey, Sandman Slim
6. Neil Gaiman, American Gods
7. John Scalzi, The Last Colony
8. Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
9. Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
10. Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
There are bigger issues here. There are questions of real consequence, such as why the F.B.I. got so thoroughly involved in what has been vaguely described as a case of e-mail harassment, whether the bureau waited too long to tell lawmakers and White House officials about the investigation, and how much classified information Broadwell, by dint of her relationship with Petraeus, was privy to. The answers matter.
Her “expressive green eyes” (The Daily Beast) and “tight shirts” and “form-fitting clothes” (The Washington Post) don’t.
Frank Bruni nails it. Why the hell are we talking about what Broadwell looks like?
“Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing! And Benghazi was an attack ON us, it was not a scandal BY us. And nobody is taking away anyone’s guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as Communism.”—Rachel Maddow. Truth.
Motley Crue, “Shout at the Devil”
The Cramps, “TV Set”
Blue Oyster Cult, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”
Mike Oldfield, “Tubular Bells”
The Specials, “Ghost Town”
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, “Little Red Riding Hood”
The Clash, “Straight to Hell”
Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”
Charlie Daniels Band, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
Oingo Boingo, “Dead Man’s Party”
AC/DC, “Highway to Hell”
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, “I Put a Spell on You”
INXS, “Devil Inside”
Van Halen, “Runnin’ With the Devil”
Rockwell, “Somebody’s Watching Me”
Donovan, “Season of the Witch”
Danny Elfman, “This Is Halloween”
White Zombie, “I’m Your Boogie Man”
The Who, “Boris the Spider”
Ray Parker Jr., “Ghostbusters”
Ministry, “Every Day Is Halloween”
“Romo didn’t get lucky with a gutsy pitch. That pitch, in that situation, was unhittable. Romo set Cabrera up with five sliders — a pitch that rivals Mariano Rivera’s cutter as a singular weapon — and then threw the one pitch that Cabrera had no chance of hitting.”—
THIS. The whole “the Giants lucked into a victory” narrative is pissing me off. This is a really good team that Sabean built this way ON PURPOSE.
Just because no one east of Sacramento expected them to win doesn’t make their victory a fluke, it just means no one was paying attention.
“Bluntly: Best thing that could happen, especially if you’re a Star Wars fan…Yes, [Disney is a] soulless corporate monster that gives babies adorable Mickey Mouse ears and tickles their chins before it swallows their souls. On the other hand: Also smart enough to buy Pixar and Marvel, give their respective brain trusts the keys to the castle, and say “Get to work.” Result: Films that are relentlessly commercial, entertaining and profitable…In fact, if Disney had any brains at all, it would give the administration of the Star Wars property over to its Marvel Studios and say “That thing? That thing you did with The Avengers? Yes, that. Here. Now.” And then let them do their thing. And come 2015, when Episode VII thumps its way across the screen and you, you damn fool, you who ground your way through the Prequel Trilogy out of a patent sense of duty to your Dread Lord George, trudge off in your Jedi robes to go see it, by the sweet and merry mouse above, you will be entertained.”—Scalzi on Lucas/Disney. Smart thinking.
“I feel like every six months the worst thing that’s ever happened in the world happens weather-wise. And I feel like we’re going to look back on this time the way baseball fans in the 90s were like ‘No, nobody’s using steroids.’ We are in the Steroid Era of storms and yet there are more people in Congress who probably think this is because, like, gays are marrying…than the fact that the world is just dying.”—Real talk about climate change from…Seth Meyers?!
George R. R. Martin’s beloved Song of Ice and Fire series, which started with A Game of Thrones, is bursting with a variety and richness of landscapes—from bitter tundra to arid wasteland and everything in between—that provide a sense of scale unrivaled in contemporary fantasy. Now this dazzling set of maps, featuring original artwork from illustrator and cartographer Jonathan Roberts, transforms Martin’s epic saga into a world as fully realized as the one around us.
“Every time Road House is on and he or one of his idiot brothers are watching TV — and they’re always watching TV — one of them calls my husband and says [In a reasonable approximation of Carl Spackler], ‘Kelly’s having sex with Patrick Swayze right now. They’re doing it. He’s throwing her against the rocks.’”—
“Scientists recently discovered that caffeine consumption can be tied to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders…it has to do with caffeine’s ability to block inflammation in the brain — a discovery that could lead to new drugs which can prevent — or even reverse — mild cognitive impairment.”
“You know, Tommy and I went in the studio last week. We strapped on the guitars, not a word was said, and bang. We still rock like murder.”—Paul Westerberg, making thousands of alt-rock geeks salivate at the prospect of hearing new Replacements music. And, it’s for a great cause, too!
Wednesday night’s debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney underscored a core truth about America’s presidential election season: the vast majority of the most consequential policy questions are completely excluded from the process.
[T]his exclusion is due to the fact that, despite frequent complaints that America is plagued by a lack of bipartisanship, the two major party candidates are in full-scale agreement on many of the nation’s most pressing political issues. As a result these are virtually ignored, drowned out by a handful of disputes that the parties relentlessly exploit to galvanise their support base and heighten fear of the other side.
"Look, it’s easy to look at Cabrera’s 2011-12 renaissance — .267/.328/.379 prior, .322/.360/.489 during — and say that he found 50 points of batting average in the bottom of a syringe. If you do that, remember that Freddy Galvis and Marlon Byrd have been suspended this year under the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement, and neither of those players were in danger of having marketing campaigns built around them. Remember that Cabrera was 26 and 27 years old when he broke through. Remember that, until and unless we learn otherwise, he went through his breakout 2011 without the stick turning blue. Chemicals aren’t magic, and while Cabrera broke the rules and will take his punishment, and deserves whatever private and public condemnation he’ll get for that, using this test to validate the position that PEDs can make you an All-Star is sophistry rather than science. It’s a data point, like Galvis and Byrd, like Sergio Mitre and Carlos Almanzar, like Guillermo Mota and, uh, Guillermo Mota."
This is from Joe’s email newsletter, which is the best current use of archaic technology I can think of right now. Do yourself a favor and subscribe.